February 8, 2016
Good Morning Ladies!
We are in Week 11, Session 2 of Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. Whew!
We are rounding about to our last characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit. This one is a bit feisty, a little sassy and needs just a little management. So, we'll take this in two parts, this week and next.
Also, if you are planning to join us for our last meeting in Session 2, see the date change below and a few other homework details.
Now onto our last characteristic, it's two words, 11 letters, first letter sounds like "sssss"...
Hmm....there's a lot in this word. For this week we will look at the what, part of the why and connection to gentleness.
"The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Last week, we looked at the 8th characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness. Gentleness in Greek is “praotes”, which means “responsibility with power”. Gentleness was summed up in the following three words:
“To cease fighting with God”
We further learned that bending the knee requires that we practice the following elements:
Proverbs 4:13, “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”
Gentleness, being teachable, humble and submitting to God will give us the tools we need for self-control. How?
The Greek word for self- control is "egkrateia". It means "continence, temperance, restraining passions and appetites". The opposite of "egkrateia" is "akrasia" which means "excess or self-indulgence".
Here's a question...where do you sit on the scale of self-control? Are you "egkrateia" or "akrasia" or a little of both at times?
If you make a list of the various areas in your life, I'm betting you could rate whether you practiced restraint (10 rating) or whether you self-indulged (1 rating). For some of the areas, you may find that you sit at a 5 rating because it depends on the situation. After all, "I might not REALLY need (you feel in the blank), but I want it."
Our 9th characteristic can be a bit of a touchy subject and honestly, princesses, this one is a tough one even for me. Sometimes, I really do act like a spoiled princess (can you relate)?
Why Self- Control?
The lack of self-control can send us in a downward spiral, aimlessly floating and destroying us and our relationships, but God. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.
Self-Control = Protection
Proverbs 25:28 describes the lack of self-control in this way,
"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lack self-control".
Walls, interesting choice of words. From very early history to modern times, walls have been a near necessity for every city. Historians have noted that walls served as a fortification used to protect a city, town or other settlement from potential aggressors. Beyond their defensive utility, many walls also had important symbolic functions – representing the status of the communities they embraced.
Our God who is greater, awesome in power, and already knows us better than we know ourselves keeps us anchored with self-control and afloat with love. The Lord knows that we are desperate for self-control. 1 Corinthians 6:12 states:
“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything." (NLT)
This verse reminds me of the popular saying used back in the early 90's by DARE officers teaching students about the danger of drugs and alcohol.
JUST SAY NO
In other words, self- control is knowing when to say, "that's enough for now."
Gentleness and Self- Control
So, how can Gentleness help us with self-control?
When we exercise gentleness (teachability, humility and submission) we are more in tune to hearing God's word, letting Him lead and giving us the power through the Holy Spirit to say, "Yes", "No" and "Not Right Now". In other words, staying lock step with the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:25
Okay, this is where we are landing for now. For this week, think about your areas of your life and rate them using the "egkrateia" or "akrasia" scale. What bubbles to the top?
Next week, we will continue to look at the characteristic of Self-Control and discuss how this links to Proverbs 25:28 (remember the word "walls" above), symbolism and the Fruit of the Spirit. It's all too much!
Until then Princesses...
Know that through the Holy Spirit you can:
• do things you couldn't;
• feel things you didn't; and
• know things you wouldn't.
For your praise and worship, here's a powerful song to think
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)- (M. Redmond)
· Tuesday, February 9, 2016 is CANCELLED
· *Continue with Week 11 Homework- we will be discussing Self- Control.
· *Complete the following: The Shape of Things, The Best Test and A Gentle Giant. We will review these items at the beginning of our meeting.
· *Our next and last meeting for Session 2 will be Tuesday, February 16, 2016- Stark County Library, 2nd FloorMeeting Room (Main Campus). Look for Session 3 in March/April 2016.
· *Spread the word and invite someone to Session 3 as we continue our conversation and study about life in the Holy Spirit.
Remember, each day is an opportunity for us to...
Lead, Serve, GO!